Nuclear cooperation to come with Italy

29 July 2008

Italy could begin a program of nuclear cooperation with Russia following a ministerial meeting in Moscow yesterday.


Garigliano (GE) 
In the 1950s and 1960s Italy built
pioneering nuclear plants like Garigliano
(which did actually look like this artist's
impression), but later phased out the
energy source
Italy's economic minister, Claudio Scajola, held meetings with energy minister and former AtomStroyExport president Sergei Shmatko, with the Russian ministry saying their talks had set priorities for their countries' cooperation in gas, electricity and nuclear power generation.


Scajola then went to meetings with Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Rosatom corporation, according to an Interfax report reproduced online by Rosatom. Kiriyenko said that a working group on nuclear energy would be set up and officially launched at an intergovernmental meeting in October this year.


Italy has re-set its sights on nuclear energy after an 11-year hiatus. Although Italy was once among the technology's pioneers, voters turned their back on nuclear power in a referendum called a year after the Chernobyl disaster. Forced to import a large share of electricity at the highest prices in the developed world, Silvio Berlusconi made a return to nuclear power a policy before his recent re-election as President.


Kiriyenko said that Russian and Italian nuclear engineers had worked before in third countries but soon they could begin to work together directly. He said: "We are ready to supply - if the Italian government shows interest in something we have - but we are also ready to buy."


The Russian energy ministry noted in a statement that Italy's Enel had become involved in new investment opportunities afforded by the Russian state. Shmatko said: "We will consistently move towards reforming the electricity market to help attract investment, and we are willing to give full support to investors."